Alden Mills on High-Performance Leadership

I AM SO FIRED UP about my new book out March 26th, 2019! A special shout-out to my #UnstoppableTeam for your support—You can pre-order your copy here –>

Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership

These lessons aren’t exclusive to the Navy SEALs; they are used by successful entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, coaches, and sport captains—and now you can master them too. Unstoppable Teams is the handbook for how to build care-based teams that will push people to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Before we get into HOW to inspire, motivate, and lead the people around you, let’s begin by talking about the benefits of team building and teamwork—a parallel to understanding your WHY in Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything. Why is this goal—team building and teamwork—worth focusing on and why is it worth dedicating time to? Here is why team building and teamwork is important:

  • You will never know it all or be excellent at everything
  • You are part of an ecosystem that will help you succeed
  • You need diversity of talent and critical feedback from different angles
  • You need teammates whose skills complement your own

My new book is full of stories from my own experiences as a three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander and founder of Perfect Fitness, which I draw on to impart these lessons.

Surprising Team Building Lessons

  • Too many people mistake groups of individuals for a team.
  • No two people are alike, but we all have the same genetic drivers that motivate us—our will to survive, our ego-driven desire for personal gain, and our soul-driven yearning to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
  • When we override our fears about survival, we can focus on our desire to thrive.
  • The more you care for your teammates, the more they will dare for the team.
  • Great ideas are not reserved for a select few—true teams embrace diversity of thought to find winning ideas.

SEALs and civilians operate in extremely different environments, but what makes both kinds of teams excel comes down to the same thing: service to others, trust, empathy, and a caring environment.

To Lead is to Serve, and to Serve is to Care

Leading is about serving. It’s about galvanizing individuals to form a cohesive team that achieves exponentially more together than any one individual. The only thing on this planet more powerful than one human spirit is a team of them!

Team building isn’t easy, nor is it always intuitive. On many occasions you may feel you’re going backwards. You’ll get caught up in the minutiae of human interaction and lose perspective from time to time. That’s natural. But if you follow these simple rules, you’ll never lose in the long run, because people – your teammates – will surprise you with their capabilities.

7 Benefits of Teamwork

  1. Gain new perspectives
  2. Play to your strengths
  3. Share the workload
  4. Boost Productivity
  5. Encourage Innovation
  6. Provide Support
  7. Attract Talent

It Takes A Team

Do you know who your team is? And do you know how to activate your team to help you achieve your goal? Whether your goal is to lose 30 pounds, save 30 whales or make $30 million, you’re going to need a team!

Embrace the fact that you are part of an ecosystem that will help you succeed if you help it/them succeed! If you maintain a lone soldier mindset, you might find some short-term success. However, the long-term journey will be riddled with “almost made it” achievements, which will wear you down over time. Then, you’ll find the dreaded “woulda-coulda-shoulda” phrases sneaking into your vocabulary.

Identify the 3 Cs of your Team

  1. Customers – they are the folks you provide value to
  2. Contributors – they are your personal and professional value providers
  3. Community – this is the ecosystem that supports you and whose members are trying to succeed like you

Team building exercises, done poorly and with without an understanding of the WHY, are simply quarterly development programs dreamed up by the resident human resource manager to check the box on the annual performance review. At their best, your team is an extension of you, and your commitment to a group is just as key as your individual commitment to succeed.

Know Your Reason to Team Up

Great people want to join an effort with a purpose; they need a reason to team up. If you don’t have a firm handle on your WHY, how can you expect other talented people to understand why they should team up with you? Your why is your calling card for finding the perfect teammates to help make a dream a reality. Understanding your why and the work you’ve accomplished toward your goal is similar to SEAL training. It’s proof of your resolve to complete the goal. No one wants to join a team that is going to fail. Everyone wants to be a winner. The ability to articulate your reason for going after your dream will help inspire others to join you. Finding the perfect teammates starts with a perfect understanding of your why.